I see the parallel rows of tombstones running up and down a small hill and I feel a sense of home and happiness as I walk past each name systematically written. This place is my safe haven since for generations, my family has been buried here. Each name written on each stone creates a feeling of intimacy and warmth that no other place makes me feel. The halls in my home are cluttered with pictures of my family’s past generations and being in this environment surrounds me with my deceased family which is comforting. My heart pounds with this unexplainable feeling of comfort and fondness of the landscape with it’s perfectly cut bushes on either end, recently trimmed grass, and beautiful patches of flowers scattered in disarray. The fresh air is sweet like honey and as crisp as fallen autumn leaves. I yearn to be here forever because it is an escape from the real world of bustling cars and overbearing technology to a simpler, quieter time.
As the glistening stars surround me, their reflections ricocheting off my face, I look out the window and see the beautiful Earth in its blue goddess greatness. The infinite dark galaxy of unknown sparks a universe of curiosity within and surrounds me with unique beauty only my eyes see. The small window gives me a limited view, but in the corner of my eye I can see the vibrant atmosphere in all of its glory. All of a sudden, a stench of something rotten gingerly grazes the tip of my nose leaving a pungent undertone of gym sock and rotten egg. My face clenches all muscles and my nose cringes into my forehead. Slowly I see my partner effortlessly float to me with the remnants of the bathroom material as he is ready to empty it. He childishly smiles and is entertained by a bag with a stench so pervasive that the mere reference of it in conversation flourishes my senses. I clench my fist and crinkle my toes under my suit as the putrescent smell of the contents in the bag reaches the nerves in my brain. The stars can only comfort me enough, because the unsatisfactory scent destroys the view. Only a few more weeks until I can see a blue sky and be surrounded by aromatic scents rather than enduring a putrid makeshift bathroom in a confined space.
Amidst the canned soup and vegetables, I found myself adjusting my hair and fixing my makeup in the reflection of some cheap sunglasses that were obviously out of place. The distant echoes of the register beeping faded away as I saw them coming toward me. They were everything I wasn’t. They had perfect faces, with skin as clear as day and hair pulled back in perfect little pony tails. I emphasize the word perfect. They were skinny, pretty, and stood tall with confidence. There I stood, with my acne ridden face and frizzy hair that would never cooperate. Looking at myself, I felt small. I tried my hardest to remember that there was no such thing as perfect. Just because I didn’t look like them doesn’t mean I wasn’t good enough. Just because I used food stamps and they paid cash doesn’t mean that I am somehow less than them. I made my way through the aisles, careful to avoid bumping into them because I knew that they would walk right through me as if i wasn’t there. As I attempted to hide among the makeup i knew I could never afford, I closed my eyes and hoped that one day I wouldn’t feel like this.
“I missed you.”
“But we haven’t seen each other since…”
Ella crept through the house. A messy bun of hair sat atop her head, silver and white pieces fraying the edges. Her nightgown, with its perfect surprise within, shimmered in the streetlamp light shining through the windows as she tiptoed down the steps to the kitchen. Looking around furtively, she slid her feet across the wooden floor to the pantry. Her mother had always kept it fully stocked, but Ella only remembered perishables when she went shopping. This morning, however, she had something special planned.
The door to the pantry was locked, and although Ella did not have the key, she had been able to pick this lock since she was a little slip of a girl. She opened it up and stared at the top shelf, now hardly a foot taller than herself, and said:
“I missed you.”
“Right,” said the empty cookie jar.
Ella looked at the ground. She hadn’t visited in over half a century, and for that she was sorry. “No, really.”
The cookie jar’s glass turned red and flopped about a little, awkwardly. “But we haven’t seen each other since…”
“Since?” Ella asked. She knew perfectly well what the cookie jar meant.
“You know,” the jar said. It turned back to its normal clear color and looked at Ella. Of course she knew.
There was a moment of silence while the two contemplated on the past. Ella was always hungry when she was a child, and even when she wasn’t, she enjoyed eating. Every night, she prowled to the kitchen, opened the pantry, and stole herself a cookie. It was always take, take, take with Ella, and she never gave back.
One night, there were no cookies left.
“Well…” Ella said, trying to end the tension-filled pause.
“Well,” the cookie jar said, sniffing its nose to keep from crying.
Ella took a deep breath. This was the moment she had been waiting for, the moment she had been made for. This was her moment to give. Ella took out the single cookie from her front pocket, opened the cookie jar, and placed the cookie inside.
The cookie jar couldn’t hold back its tears anymore, and as Ella relocked the pantry, it started crying. Ella crept back up the stairs to her childhood bedroom, and fell asleep, content. She dreamed of forgiveness and family until her heart stopped, and she died (because the author killed her. Everyone said it was random and she didn’t seem old enough to die, so I had to kill her. I’ve also decided she becomes a vampire after death, because I bit her. Honestly, I just wanted a heartwarming end, but instead we got this.).
Anonymous (writer wanted to omit his name)
“I missed you.”
Oh what lies she can tell. “Right.” I scoffed.
“But we haven’t seen each other since…”
“You know.” The words eked out of my mouth, seething with the frustration that comes upon me whenever I’m reminded of . . .
Well. Of course it was Well. It always comes back to Well with her. Ever since that failure of a wedding, and, if my instincts have told me anything, from before the wedding too.
Harrison G. Well: the man who stole my fiancee from under my nose and, alongside her, left me with nothing but deep-seeded trust issues, or so says my psychologist.
Have you ever seen the movies where the leading lady is forced into a marriage she doesn’t want with a man she doesn’t love, but is saved at the last minute by the token hero right after the echoes of “speak now, or forever hold your peace”. Well, that’s what happened to me, but I’m no hero. No, I stood upon the altar as a victim. As the dashing hero, Well, gallantly strode through the hall to claim his “prize”, my bride. I had committed no crime, nor taken part in any villainy, yet that day I was branded. Not with iron, but with shame and a shattered heart.
She never loved me, that much I now knew without her telling me. Whether it was for money or a place to stay, she latched onto me. No, that’s wrong. She didn’t latch onto me. She was attached to my wallet. Everything was physical with her, from the beginning until now as she stands in my doorway. I suppose that’s why I could never have her heart. Even for the wedding, she spoke all the time of the money and her dress and the food and the reception and the expensive and drawn-out honeymoon that she would be taking me on. Of course those were her words. In reality, I would be providing all the funds and doing all the work. All that, and I never once saw her working on the vows. To her I appeared as no more than a toy, and she no longer had fun with me.
The whole two years we were together I could see it in her face. I didn’t fully realize it until after the wedding, whether out of ignorance or a desire to believe that we were the perfect couple and nothing could go wrong. Her bright red, drifting hair that always pulled away from me, as though some invisible force held a fan to it all times. Her lips that curled into a coy smile whenever I had looked at her and she was looking away from me. And her eyes. Those beautiful pearls that shone like the sun, resting snugly behind the comfort of her glasses. The pale blue windows to her soul that, for me, were always shut. Her eyes. The last things I saw as I closed the door on her, forever.
For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after an eternity of waiting, nothing continued to happen. Peace, quiet, bliss, anger, loneliness washed over me in waves. This was for the best. I knew that. So why was it so hard to believe?